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Decluttering for the maximalist

Learning to declutter sans KonMari method.

You know those people who walk around with those massive Mary Poppin bags with everything in it? Need tissue, Band-Aids, salt, safety pins or mayo? Well, I was one of those people who had the closet version of that. Need a gala dress? What color? There's no limit on how many pairs of jeans I can own. Need a Michael Jackson inspired double-breasted red wool military jacket? I have that, too.

It doesn't help that I'm a secretly sentimental person that collects everything. I mean I have my yearbook banquet (yes, that was unapologetically a thing) dress from eight years ago. I kept concert tickets from the Kaskade: Freaks of Nature show, where I lasted only until 12:30 pm, for six years.

Marie Kondo made decluttering and minimalism mainstream in 2015 —an impressive feat in a Keeping up with the Kardashians world where excessive ownership is the hallmark of a successful capitalist. A New York Times-best selling guide, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing encourages collecting your junk and then tossing everything that didn't "spark joy."

Well, my response is the opposite of Emily Gilmore, who was ready to toss the house with the chairs. What happens if everything you own sends you on a long trek down memory lane? Rather than tossing ill-fitting garments and unused items, I get lost daydreaming sitting on piles of silk, cotton, linen, and polyester-blend shirts.

But oh I tried tossing everything that brought me no joy long before Kondo's book was published in English. I empty my closet into one massive pile and just ended up hanging everything right side out and took a nap. If everything fits in the closet, than why care?

Because Kondo, Thoreau and, I think, Jesus are right. Life is much simpler with less. A maximalist needs much more than a well-thought out book.

1. Quite buying things. Seriously. Don't buy anything until you get rid of everything you don't want or need.

2. Kondo suggest starting one category least emotional to most sentimental at a time rather than one room. For the sentimental maximalist, try starting within a sub category of clothes. Shoes, shirts, dress, bags jewelry— just pick one small thing and then donate, sell or toss what you don't want. Think about when the last time you wore it and trying it works wonders. Secondly, not everyone has time to go through everything in one sitting and chipping away at makes seem less daunting. I tried filling one hefty bag full of items at time. It is similar to setting small goals within a weight loss program.

3. Wait at least one month before tackling the same category again. This is applicable for both for the "would totally wear it if there was a summer weeding under palms trees in Hawaii" dress and Henry James' Portrait of lady, which you have yet to read more than a 100 pages. Getting used to the idea of purging items is harder than physically letting go.

4. Keep it clean, messy. You're more like to get use of things you can easily access.

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